As the final date for compliance with the US Department of Energy regulation on certain industrial equipment approaches, we have been working with our clients in pump manufacturing to ensure they are ready for the January 2020 deadline. As a result of this recent trend, and drawing on our experience in the industry over the last number of years, we have become very familiar with the concerns of our clients, which, for such a specific sector, generally reflect the preoccupations of most contemporary organisations in the current climate.

First and foremost, there is the rapid globalisation of the industry. While globalisation, of course, brings challenges, such as decreasing sale prices and greater competition in existing markets, it equally brings vast opportunities for entering other, new markets and expanding the business and its revenue. Competing on an international stage is a significant change for businesses with traditionally domestic models, but may result in dividends previously unimagined. For digital and other remote services, this may mean having a call centre with the relevant native speakers on hand; but, for the pump industry, which involves physical equipment performing essential, real-time functions, the end-client often requires a greater level of reassurance. Put simply, if part of a client’s fire protection or waste treatment system, for example, needs to be checked or replaced, they want to know their pump supplier will be there to do it. So, pump manufacturers need people on the ground wherever they are selling, and they need to be able to speak to their end clients in their language and on their terms. Remote services are, in these cases, not enough.

On a different, but related, note, there is the cost factor. Competing in a globalising industry, as we all know by now, generally means a need to reduce costs. Based on our clients’ activities, it is clear that the key to tackling this is in internal training and upskilling. By training and retaining existing staff, our clients keep costs down, reduce staff attrition and ensure their operations run smoothly, professionally, and consistently. This has the added benefit of creating a coherent company identity across all locations, reinforcing credibility and the perception of each branch as a local business. In fact, this is a trend that we’re seeing reflected across all sectors we work in at the current time – finding and holding on to the right talent is the key to everything else and is the main challenge (and opportunity) we all face, including here at Guildhawk.

For pump manufacturers specifically, there is a growing consideration of energy efficiency and environmental concerns – see the above-mentioned DOE regulations, among others. Given the ongoing push to promote renewable energies, manufacturers servicing the oil and gas industry have been obliged to rethink the way they work, and where this sector sits within their overall business model. Some of our most innovative clients work with their clients in the sector to increase efficiency and limit the environmental impact of existing operations, as well as improving and growing their offerings in renewable applications.

As is the case for so many longstanding industries, the pump manufacturing sector is at a significant crossroads at the moment, looking into a future of change, growth, and some not insignificant challenges. Following the example of our excellent clients, we advise what may seem obvious when written down: the tackling of these challenges through innovative, intelligent, and well-researched means; the embracing of globalisation and global communication; and above all else, the prioritisation of people – the essential ingredient for any modern business to thrive.